The Broadway League and Actors’ Equity Association reached a tentative pact that will raise the weekly minimum for Broadway actors 3.5 percent to $2,168.
The current Production contract, with a minimum weekly salary of $2,095, expires on Sunday. The roughly 5,400 voting members of the union, which represents actors and stage managers, have until Oct. 15 to approve the deal, which was endorsed by Equity’s national council.
The three-year agreement calls for annual salary increases of 3.5 percent, according to a summary sent to Equity members and posted below. It also raises the so-called media fee to 2.5 percent of the minimum salary, from the current 2 percent ($41.90 to $54.20). The add-on compensates actors for audio and video recorded for publicity or other uses, and is mandatory for musical productions.
The minimum doesn’t include other incremental fees, such as for overtime, moving sets and props during a show, and understudying roles. Equity posted a “clarification” that during peak tourist season, only actors in all performances will be paid extra when a ninth show is added to the standard eight-performance week.
There’s also a provision to increase 401(k) contributions to 4 percent of a contractural salary, from 3 percent.
Mary McColl, executive director of Equity, said in a statement: “This agreement is a win for Equity members who will have stronger financial and workplace security and for the entire industry as we have ensured that theatre can continue to grow and prosper on Broadway.”
Said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League: “We are pleased to reach an agreement that provides meaningful benefits for all parties. This newly negotiated contract addresses areas important to producers and provides opportunities for the growth of the industry by updating working conditions to reflect the needs of a modern Broadway production.”
Here’s the letter sent to Equity members, signed by McColl and Ira Mont, a stage manager and union officer.
Dear Equity Members,
We are pleased to report that Actors’ Equity Association has reached a tentative agreement withthe Broadway League for a new Production Contract. The National Council reviewed the proposed agreement at a special meeting on Sept. 19 and recommends that you VOTE YES on the ratification ballot.
The negotiating team – made up of working actors and stage managers – focused on the priorities from members who responded to our contract survey earlier this year. That feedback was also taken into consideration by Equity’s National Council and committees.
This new deal delivers on member priorities by ensuring significant compensation increases in each year of the agreement. These increases will be felt by every member working the contract. Taken together, the financial gains result in a 12.47% compounded increase over three years (5% in the first year alone).
Highlights of the achievements:
• Annual 3.5% increases to minimum weekly salaries (10.87% compounded over three years). This amounts to an additional $2 million increase in minimum salaries in the first year.
• An increase in weekly 401(k) contributions to 4% of CONTRACTUAL salary from the current 3%. This amounts to an additional $2.6 million in 401(k) contributions in the first year.
• An increase in the Media Fee to 2.5% of minimum salary from the current 2.0%. This amounts to an extra $823,000 annually paid to members.
• Commitment to negotiating a unified touring agreement to replace SETA and all National Tour and Tiered Tour provisions in Production.
• Stage Manager load-in payments on Tiered Tours no longer tied to the day after the day off.
• In new productions, full Swings who are not also Dance Captains will not be required to know and be ready to perform the roles of more than 10 Chorus at once time (in addition to separately compensated part/specialty understudy assignments).
• A new position of ‘temporary Assistant Stage Manager,’ hired from 1 day of pre-pro through opening, on musicals of a given size and complexity which open cold on the Production Contract.
• Expanded Harassment-free Workplace language to include bullying and retaliation.
• Twice annual mandatory Emergency Action Plan training held during paid rehearsal hours.
• Skin parts (exclusive of specific costume pieces) shall match the skin tone of the Actor.
• Elimination of the Sick Leave Committee and expanded EPA announcement requirements.
As part of the negotiation to achieve the improvements above, a summary of the changes the team agreed to:
• Outside media capture will now be performed under the limited terms and conditions of rule 39(A)(1) as permitted for in-house media capture.
• A clarification that Chorus Rider outs are limited to onstage Principal offers (including performing alternates).
• A clarification that Ninth Performance additional salary payment (Rule 50(C)(2)) is only due for members who perform in all nine performances of the week.
• Productions which have announced a closing date will not have to hold required replacement EPA calls.
• Changes to absences and lateness provisions; payment due in week of first paid public performance.
This agreement was made possible by the foundation laid during the negotiations for a new Development Agreement and the Short Engagement Touring negotiations. Over the last year, Equity has received a commitment from the Broadway League to negotiate a new unified touring agreement. Our goal is to leverage a combined agreement for stronger terms and conditions on tours. For that reason, salary increases for tours beyond 9/28/2020 are not included in this agreement because they will be negotiated in the new touring agreement.
Your negotiating team and National Council unanimously recommend that you vote to ratify this contract. This agreement not only increases compensation for all members, but it makes critical gains for stage mangers and a historic change to improve working conditions for swings. We urge you to VOTE YES.